Since declaring independence following the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Moldova has made great progress toward becoming a strong, independent, and market-oriented democracy. USAID launched an assistance program in Moldova in 1992 to support this transition - establishing health and social safety net programs, fostering democratic processes, and helping to restructure and privatize key industries to jump-start economic growth. Since then, USAID helped Moldova to grow its economy, fortify democratic processes and improve people’s lives.
In the past decade, Moldova has made significant strides in its development journey. Poverty rates declined from 23 percent in 2010 to 9 percent in 2018. In 2014, the signing of the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) allowed Moldova to take steps towards integrating its economy with the European Union. Improved trade facilitation and the reorientation of exports to Western markets made Moldova significantly more resilient. The country has established a competitive electoral environment, and the freedoms of assembly, speech and religion are largely protected. Moldova has also carried out extensive reforms of its legal framework and has put in place a comprehensive legislative and regulatory base for the transition to a market economy. Yet progress remains hampered by multiple challenges. There is a continuing trust deficit between citizens and the government. Moldova remains one of the poorest countries in Europe, with the lowest GDP per capita and market size in the region.
To avoid backsliding and advance towards greater self-reliance that is more resistant to these factors, Moldova must achieve more stable, efficient and transparent governance responsive both to market needs and citizens’ aspirations. It must grow its economy by improving its competitiveness and expanding its trade footprint. USAID’s strategic vision is fully aligned with the Government of Moldova priorities, which are to foster a durable and inclusive economy, robust human and social capital, honest and efficient institutions, and a healthy and secure environment.